The Chinese Coat Rack Trick

13957824_062_bTHERE ARE VERY FEW EMERGENCIES in decorating, but I have taken a rare misstep. I might as well burn a $100 bill. Plus, it’s consuming an entire evening of my life, an evening I could have spent, oh, painting something.

I got tired of looking for the perfect yard sale or thrift shop coat rack. It’s jacket season, and I have no closet in my front hall, so I succumbed to the temptation to buy a new standing ‘coat tree’ online. That took some searching, too, but finally I ordered this, in white, from Urban Outfitters. I didn’t even think about whether it would come assembled — not that the site said ‘Assembly Required’ in large letters. All I thought was: it’s beachy, it’s fun. Not everything has to have gravitas.

I guess I assumed it would come assembled, that the UPS man would jump from his truck with a 6′ tall box and I’d take it out of the box and plunk it down in the front hall.

But no, it came all the way from China in a box only 2 feet square and 2 inches deep. Inside: 14 metal pieces and 21 screws, and two pages of instructions like “Attach part (F) to post (D) with screws (G).”

In the past, my son would have put this thing together in a flash, and enjoyed doing it. As it is, me bein’ alone and all, I figured, well, I’ll give it a shot. Got nothin’ else to do. It took probably 20 minutes just to get everything out of its wrappings — bubble, cardboard, tape, baggies — and then to figure out what went where. I picked up the screwdriver, and 30 minutes later, grumbling to myself all the while (“not exactly precision engineering, hmphh”), I had the bottom half put together. It seemed pretty sturdy. And tackier by the second.

Then I got to the midsection, where you screw 3 foot-long rods together to make the main support. Rod (B) would not go smoothly into rod (C). There’s half an inch of threading showing. I’m ready to stick this thing in the basement. I’ve still got the whole top to do, and it’s too big for the corner I planned to put it in.

In short, I hate it. I could return it for a refund, I suppose, go through the whole process in reverse — unscrew, re-wrap, pack. It would take just a couple of hours. And then the shipping.

For the moment, I’ve stopped. I’ll sleep on it. Face The Thing again in the morning light.

About cara

I blog for fun here at casaCARA, and write about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites. My recently published posts and articles can be found here:
This entry was posted in COTTAGE LIVING, HAMPTONS, MISCELLANEOUS, OLD-HOUSE MAKEOVERS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Chinese Coat Rack Trick

  1. Mary-Liz says:

    Oy again!

  2. Nancy says:

    Make that three! I know so well about big mistake purchases from the internet! And I never seem to send them back…

  3. voice of reason says:

    1. It will look better in the morning. Or the next morning.
    2. It will either fit in the entry as planned (though other entry items may have to give it some room), or
    3. It will fit in the guest room for visiting clothing.
    4. Your clever son may be able to modify it when he next visits.
    5. If the perfect coat rack presents itself, this one will be happy to be donated to the LVIS.

  4. voice of reason says:

    Now that I’ve looked at the link, I’ll add another option:

    6. Those hooks might mount directly into your wall or on a piece of wood that could then be mounted on your wall.

  5. Ann says:

    I’d complain to Customer Service (and it will probably take more than one try and you’ll probably have to ask for a supervisor) about the “assembly required” issue. At the very least you might get your return shipping paid for or a discount to keep it and save them the hassle.

  6. Kathleen says:

    Once upon a time, I ordered a screen from Urban Outfitters. It looked much better online than it did at my house. Returning it would have been a major hassle. Within a year, it was on the curb.

    Are you anywhere close to an UO store where you could take it back?

  7. cara says:

    The packing materials have gone to the dump already. I am committed to using this thing somehow, somewhere.
    Oh, well. Not a tragedy. Just an annoyance.

  8. Harriet Bell says:

    Call and complain. Nicely, but firmly. Then send it back–surely you have some packing stuff somewhere.

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